Architects Unveil Exterior Views of Proposed School Renovation

With the final countdown now underway — just six days distant as of Wednesday this week — until next Tuesday’s General Election, Directors of Hinsdale County School District were cautiously optimistic as they met with Brian Calhoun of RTA Architects .
During an hour-long teleconference, Calhoun received favorable reviews from school directors and audience as he unveiled exterior views of the proposed renovation and enlargement of Lake City Community School.
“It’s just beautiful!,” declared school maintenance custodian Teresa Myers from her audience seat, school board directors Phil Virden, Tara Hardy, Rob Hudgeons, Camille Richard and Bill Reinhardt periodically nodding in agreement as Calhoun explained views of the proposed 31,000-square foot school facility and campus.
As detailed in last week’s WORLD, this year’s weighty mailed-in ballot includes question 4A to voters in Hinsdale County School District seeking approval of $3,950,000 in general obligation bonds to be matched with $9,445,930 approved through a Colorado dept. of Education BEST grant and waiver. If approved by Hinsdale County voters next week, the $13.4-million project would rehab the existing Lake City Community School with the goal of providing greater health, safety and security, and also construct a 17,000-s.f. addition to include new classrooms, stage, and 7,124-s.f. regulation-size gymnasium. Total square footage of the existing school and addition will be 32,676-s.f.
Student capacity in the existing building is 151 and, with the reconfiguration and expansion, capacity till increase to a total of 192.
Voter turnout through mail and hand-delivered ballots to Hinsdale County Clerk’s Office is brisk: of 686 ballots which were mailed to active registered voters in the county in mid-October, 334 had been returned for tabulation through Tuesday, October 30. Final time for delivery hand-delivery to the clerk’s office in order to be tabulated in this year’s election is 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 6.
At Monday evening’s teleconference with Brian Calhoun, the Colorado Springs-based RTA Architect unveiled exterior renderings depicting the reconfigured south-facing main entrance, together with view of the east-facing facade from Gunnison Avenue, northeast view from Silver Street and southeast as viewed from the corner of Gunnison Avenue and 6th Street.
Per suggestions based on the structure’s location within the Lake City Historic District, various elements of the building emphasize versatility in terms of windows and outside walls which are reminiscent of board-and-bat siding combined with traditional brick. A s Monday’s teleconferences of one-story additions surround and lessen the expanse of the gymnasium. Most notable on the south-facing facade, and highest point on the exterior, is the vertical-themed main entrance surmounted by the school cupola clock tower which will be relocated from its present location.
Preceding Monday evening’s teleconference between the school board and architect, a series of public meetings were held during which a variety of potential roof structures were discussed. The most recent proposal emphasized a grey metal roof — to replace the existing light green metal roofing — which is configured in a series of gables and shed roofs to address drainage and snow load.
Floor plans also discussed by Calhoun emphasize the fact the existing 14,000-s.f. school will be retained in its entirety, although interior rooms will be reconfigured. Most noticeable in the renderings is the vertical main school entrance with cupola comprising an airlock between two sets of double doors. As a key security feature, visits of the facility will pass through a first set of exterior doors, after which they will be greeted through a reception window and then buzzed through into the commons area of the school.
School board director Bill Reinhardt closely questioned Calhoun on entrances into the school, as well as gate accesses onto the school grounds. Calhoun replied that in terms of gate access, the principal entrance for student drop-off and visitors would be off of 6th Street, together with a smaller public gate access leading from Gunnison Avenue into the gymnasium. A third gate access onto the campus would be on Silver Street adjacent to angled parking on the street. A third, non-public access into the school building would be a camouflaged kitchen access to the north at the northwest corner of the building.
Parking would not be encouraged in the drop-off area fronting the school along 6th Street, with parking instead directed adjacent to the school along both Silver Street and Gunnison Avenue.
Reinhardt also urged the architects to consider roof-mounted solar panels as a part of the construction plan. Calhoun noted that the expanse of south-facing roof on the building would be conducive for solar adaptation, although installation was not included in the budget.
In his informal dialogue with school directors on Monday, Calhoun addressed separate interior “modules” of rooms separating the elementary portion of the building from middle school and high school classrooms.
The elementary portion of the family, located on the southwest end of the existing school building, will be composed of four — up from the present three classrooms — elementary classrooms, totaling 3,400-s.f. (2,500-s.f. now), respectively 816-s.f., 651-s.f., 812-s.f. and the largest, 1,100-s.f. for pre-kindergarten/kindergarten classes.
Based on square footage per student, Calhoun said present elementary capacity at Lake City Community School is 75 students and, with the reconfiguration, that will expand to a maximum of 95 elementary-age students.
Middle school and high school classrooms are planned in both the existing school building and the expanded addition; middle school/high school instruction is now confined to 3,300-s.f. total but will increase to 4,652-s.f. in four classrooms. Present MS/HS capacity is 86 students and that will increase to 97.
Other interior spaces are a 770-s.f. commercial kitchen and 1,07-s.f. cafeteria located in a commons area off the school’s main entrance. Calhoun identified a total of 9,256-s.f. in both new and reconfigured school which is identified for physical education use, the majority of which is the 7,124-s.f. gymnasium. Fold-out bleachers on the north wall of the gym would seat 300, the architect estimating that total seating in the gym might extent to a total of about 500 with added chairs.